Best international religious Web sites don’t just preach to choir

Scripps Howard News Service, July 28, 2003

– If Sunday sermons fall short of making you more knowledgeable about your religious faith (or other faiths), your home computer is poised to be your best friend. The very best of the international religious Web sites don’t just preach to the choir. They instruct and inspire. So, enjoy!

Lavinia Byrne, who writes for The Tablet, a Catholic weekly published in England, recently surveyed the best Web sites. She awards four stars to, produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation’s religion department. The site offers an array of articles on contemporary moral questions, including genetic engineering and human cloning. It even offers perspective on atheism. Another BBC site,, is interactive and treats spirituality.

Another four-star site is, which explains Buddhism, portrays Korean Buddhist art, lets you hear Buddhist chants, and provides a guide to meditation.

Islam Online ( is also a four-star site. It provides a comprehensive explanation of what it means to be a Muslim, including news stories, social and cultural links, plus health advice and entertainment. It even employs Muslim scholars to offer online advice, not unlike “Dear Abby.” Check out the counsel given to a woman who was uncertain whether to reveal her sexual history to her husband before converting to Islam.

Thousands of resources are available to explain Hindu traditions and rituals at Its many links can be slow to download, but they are extensive, treating yoga, philosophy and discussions of dilemmas faced by Hindus in the 21st century.

Billing itself as “the number one destination for all things Jewish and more” is the British site It includes a dating agency, a kosher cookery feature and the charming diary of a “mohel,” the man who performs circumcisions. There is an “Ask the Rabbi” section, which treats serious questions of faith and religious practice, but also delivers wry reactions to subjects like the Harry Potter craze.

If you’re interested in religion in general, you’ll be intrigued by, which provides over 41,000 statistics and religious geography citations. It has no denominational axes to grind, nor does it attempt to score moral or spiritual points. If the subject of religion has become ho-hum of late, check out the Falun Gong, the Radical Faeries and other imaginative sects and cults on this site.

For simple fun, visit the Christian site, which bills itself as The Magazine of Christian Unrest. Its Monty Python-like irreverence includes a consumer guide to tacky religious artifacts. Its “reality” game show, modeled on TV’s “Survivor,” votes members of the crew off Noah’s Ark.

(A collection of David Yount’s early columns, “Faith Under Fire” (SterlingHouse), will be published in October. Contact him at P.O. Box 2758, Woodbridge, VA 22193 or dyount(at)

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 1, 2003.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at